The City of Blood[police procedural / thriller] (translated by Jeffrey Zuckerman) Release date: January 20, 2015 at Le French Book 212 pages ISBN: 978-1939474186 Website | Goodreads ***
SYNOPSISWhen a major Parisian modern art event gets unexpected attention on live TV, Chief of Police Nico Sirsky and his team of elite crime fighters rush to La Villette park and museum complex. There, renowned artist Samuel Cassian is inaugurating the first archeological dig of modern art, twenty-seven years after burying the leftovers of a banquet. In front of reporters from around the world, excavators uncover a skeleton. Could it be the artist’s own son? And does that death have anything to do with the current string of nightclub murders by the “Paris Butcher”? On the site of the French capital’s former slaughterhouses, the investigation takes Nico and France’s top criminal investigation division from artists’ studios to autopsy theaters and nightclubs in hopes of tracking down the murderer who has turned this Paris park into a city of blood. [provided by the publisher] ***
I loved the concept of this book. An art exhibit that is buried to be dug up 30 years later with great fanfare? That's brilliant and then when a skeleton is discovered in the remains of the buried art exhibit during the very public exhumation of that exhibit? Also brilliant! Now Nico and his colleagues have a 30 year old murder to investigate but are shocked when a recent series of murdes seem to have a tie in to the skeleton.
While the murders are very brutal and everything is clearly dealt with there's a distance to the book itself that will keep you turning pages but won't give you nightmares. The writing style approaches the murders from almost an academic perspective even though everyone is involved is very motivated to solve the murders. The book reminded me very much of early Aaron Elkins books which I gobbled up by the handful years ago.
It was fascinating to get a look into the French legal system, attitudes on art, on homosexual lifestyles, and just day to day life in Paris. There's a subplot with Nico's mother that I ordinarily would object to but the author did a fantastic job tying in to Nico's motivations to solving the murders.
My only complaint is that it was a little hard to keep the characters straight but I suspect that it is because I'm starting the series on the 3rd book. I think I would've enjoyed it more if I'd started at the beginning.
If you're looking for an unusual mystery with interesting characters than The City of Blood is not one to pass up!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR
Jeffrey Zuckerman was born in the Midwest and lives in New York. He has worked as an editorial assistant, a lifeguard, and a psychology researcher. Now an editor for Music and Literature Magazine, he also freelances for several companies, ranging from the pharmaceutical industry to old-fashioned book publishing. He holds a degree in English with honors from Yale University, where he studied English literature, creative writing, and translation.
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